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John Jelesko

Associate Professor
548 Latham Hall
Mail code: 0390
220 Ag Quad Lane
Blacksburg, VA 24061

School of Plant and Environmental Sciences

Dr. John Jelesko's research seeks to understand the molecular biology and evolution of plant specialized metabolism responsible for producing valuable chemicals, particularly alkylphenolurushiol - the chemical responsible for the classic irritating rashes after contact with poison ivy/oak/sumac plants.  The diverse metabolic potential of such plants combined with computational biology, genetic, and synthetic biology technologies hold tremendous opportunities for sustainable chemical feedstock production for use in the pharmaceutical and manufacturing domains of the economy.  Dr. Jelesko is also currently examining the fungal biocontrol of weedy and invasive alkylphenol producing plants in order to provides new opportunities for safe fungal biocontrol of emerging poison ivy and exotic invasive Anacardiaceae species in managed landscapes and recreation areas.

Research Interests

Plant evolution, plant metabolism